And how do I know this? Oh, Let me count the top ten ways…
1. I see nuns walking around, everywhere. Yes, nuns.They wander around casually all over Italy, which is something those of us from Philadelphia are not used to.
2. I desperately search for ancient fountains to fill up my water bottle. They’re little gems hidden all over the city of Rome. They appear to be a historical fountain but they double as a source of fresh and delicious drinking water. After long days of exploring in the hot sun – they are a lifesaver. (TIP: Press your thumb against the spout and water will come out of the top hole, making it a way cooler version of a water fountain)
3. Carbs make my world go round. My days consist of bread, pasta, cheese (lots & lots of cheese), a gelato or two or three or…, more bread, a piece of pizza, and the OCCASIONAL fruit or vegetable. This isn’t necessarily by choice – this is Italy people! This country has a love affair with Carbohydrates. Good thing I walk a 100 miles a day or i’d be taking up three seats on the plane ride home!
4. I feel a warm fuzzy feeling when I see those yellow arches or a flashing BK sign. I think I can speak for everyone in the program when I say how exciting it is to see a Mcdonalds or Burger King when walking through Rome. I never thought i’d be so happy to see fast food places in my life! It gives us that little connection to good old America (and hilariously makes us desperately crave a double cheeseburger!)
5. My friends and I stop and take pictures…OF EVERYTHING. Doorknobs, City Walls, Steps, Alleyways, you name it! Rome is beautiful and you find it’s beauty in the smallest of details. My friends and I can make a 30-minute walk into an all day adventure by stopping to explore every little thing in our surroundings. One man’s every day is another man’s adventure- right? (Okay…so maybe i’m just justifying the tourist in all of us?)
6. There are no food trucks. There are fruit stands. Ah…the beloved food trucks. Philadelphia is home to many delicious, quick, cheap, and easy trucks to grab your favorite cheesesteak, breakfast sandwich, or beloved crepe! Here in Rome- there is no such thing. Instead, they opt for a much healthier alternative. Fruit trucks! I love grabbing a delicious pesche aka peach on the way to class.
7. I hang out at world famous historical sites. Words commonly exchanged between classes: “Hey wanna meet me at the spanish steps after class?” “Lets all grab dinner by the colosseum tonight!” “I need to go shopping. Wanna go to the shops behind the Piazza Del Popolo?” Much different then the common Temple University hang outs- such as the Bell Tower, Rittenhouse Square, or Boathouse Row. I think I can safely say that this reality is still surreal to all of us.
8. You get asked to buy flowers wherever you go. Walking down the street, sitting in a restaurant, or even while having class outside in a park. You will be asked to by flowers, several times a day, every day. And yes, even though they’re one euro, you must resist. Even when called “Bella” and told that they’re “Very good, Very good”.
9. Apartment Buildings look like they’re made for royalty. Not they are not old warehouses that have been made into loft apartments. They have stained glass ceilings, paintings comparable to Michelangelo, and gorgeous chandeliers. Um…So, can I move here?
10. I feel inferior to everyone when it comes to fashion. Everyone just seems to know how to dress around here! Not only am I surrounded by stores like Gucci and Tom Ford, but women ride around on their vespas in dresses and high heels and men stroll through the streets in well-tailored suits. Even in the hot sun, nobody breaks a sweat in their million layers – they just manage to remain calm, cool, and stylish. There must be something in the water from those ancient fountains!